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Author Topic: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga  (Read 2857 times)

LJRead

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Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« on: August 05, 2009, 05:29:29 PM »
About two months ago we finally got a new inter-island ferry and cargo boat in the form of the Princess Ashika, which had been operating in Fiji's waters and was brought over to Tonga to replace our M.V. Olovaha which had been deteriorating for some time and going slower and slower.  This morning we learned that the Princess Ashika began to sink yesterday not too far out of Nuku'lofa (main city of Tonga) on its way to Vava'u.  Among other things it carried a small box of Malia's clothes from the U.S.  Fifty or so passengers were aboard and most were rescued by another ferry operating in the area.  Some others were picked up by the Tonga Naval vessel which I reported on some weeks ago, so we are thankful that possibly all are safe and now await further news.

It is a major loss for Vava'u because of our dependence on it for almost all store goods.
So back to the old ways when there were no stores!
Lawrence J. Read
Vava'u
Tonga Islands
South Pacific

2002 Machismo, 2003 RE rickshaw with Thunderbird base

Cabo Cruz

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2009, 05:33:19 PM »
Sorry to hear the about bad news, Br. Larry!
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geoffbaker

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2009, 05:33:36 PM »
Sorry to hear it LJ and glad that everybody was rescued OK. Guess you will have to live on local supplies again for a while!

I should add that the title of this thread could lead to some confusion among the more pruriently minded (me, I mean)....:)

PhilJ

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2009, 07:16:46 PM »
Yes Larry, what a loss. Sorry to hear it.

Ok, now we know Geoff. ps you weren't the only one.

Slider

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2009, 07:19:17 PM »
I should add that the title of this thread could lead to some confusion among the more pruriently minded (me, I mean)....:)


LOL! I hate to admit it, but that was my first thought.  ;D

LJ, just out of curiosity, are you from the U.S.? Why did you move to Tonga?
I must retreat to my place of Zen and meditate on this.

woodboats

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 08:10:55 PM »
Yes, very sorry to hear that LJ.
It's all on the news here also.
Apparently NZ Maritine got the Mayday last night and diverted 3 boats to the area and asked the Navy vessel to assist.
Also have an Orion overhead.

What a lot of people don't realize is how closely the Pacfic Islands need to work together when things go wrong. NZ is tasked with all SAR for this part of the Pacfic, covers a huge area including Tonga.

As with most SAR operations it is usually the "vessels of opportunity" that are sent to do the job, the locals have rescued quite a few people already but sadly it appears many may still be missing.
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LJRead

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Re: Ferry M.V. Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2009, 09:48:36 PM »
Thanks all, and thanks Goeff for allowing me to correct the title of this thread.  Just returned from town and latest is that there were about 50 passengers and 30 crew and that only 44 have so far been rescued. Conditions at sea are very rough here now as we have had strong winds with high seas.  Everyone in town is very saddened by this as everyone in Tonga is somehow close either as relatives or friends, so a loss such as this hits hard.  There is another privately run ferry (the M.V. Pulupaki) which will allow most services here to continue but some things have been lost.  My wife's small two foot square box went on the Pulupaki so we haven't suffered in that way, and the mail for the island was also put on the Pulupaki.

This is of course a very maritime nation and the territory down here is huge when the sea is considered, dwarfing any other part of the world. The land area is quite small (160 + islands in the Tonga group) but the sea is all encompassing. New Zealand is especially good in monitoring things and helping out, but then New Zealanders are just that way, very helpful people.

To answer Slider's question - I have spent half my life in the South Pacific, and my wife, Malia, is a Tongan. We left the U.S. finally fifteen years ago to sort of start afresh down here, with never a regret even though I sometimes miss the homeland very much.    You can check out my website to see where we live http://www.bayviewtonga.com.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 09:52:02 PM by LJRead »
Lawrence J. Read
Vava'u
Tonga Islands
South Pacific

2002 Machismo, 2003 RE rickshaw with Thunderbird base

1Blackwolf1

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2009, 10:44:38 PM »
  Also sorry to hear of your loss.  Any plans to replace your ferry?  Checked out your web site.  I can see why you moved there..looks very relaxing.  Will.
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geoffbaker

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2009, 10:48:02 PM »
Sorry to hear there are still some missing and hope they all get back safe...

On a different tack - if you ever need help with your website, Larry, just ask... I'd be happy to help!

LJRead

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2009, 11:50:05 PM »
Thanks for the offer, Goeff.   I did my present website after I got tired of my original professionally produced one.  Too many bells and whistles to it.  I have a feeling we will be doing a lot of upgrading in the next years, especially going with more alternative energy on site as my pocket book allows.  So yes, I may just call on you to help out if you wouldn't mind.

BTW when I posted the link to our site this morning I then checked on the website and find that somehow the main photo, taken from the top of Mt. Talau across the way got deleted, so tonight maybe I can replace it.

We will soon be getting a complete radio report of the sinking so I will be posting when I find out more facts.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 11:56:24 PM by LJRead »
Lawrence J. Read
Vava'u
Tonga Islands
South Pacific

2002 Machismo, 2003 RE rickshaw with Thunderbird base

LJRead

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2009, 12:04:18 AM »
Yeah, the report just came through with 53 rescued and 27 still missing.  The boat itself sank to the bottom.
Lawrence J. Read
Vava'u
Tonga Islands
South Pacific

2002 Machismo, 2003 RE rickshaw with Thunderbird base

Slider

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2009, 04:24:35 AM »
Dang, that's rough. Sorry to hear it.

I must retreat to my place of Zen and meditate on this.

geoffbaker

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2009, 02:46:58 PM »
LJ, is there a Tongan airport or airstrip for emergencies?

Is there anything any of us forum members might be able to do to help?

Any kind of emergency supplies needed?

GreenForce82

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2009, 03:43:25 PM »
I hope everybody gets picked up, and I pray for the families of those lost...
 :'(
 :'(
 :'(

 :)
I say we get a "Tonga Trip" together for sometime in the future like 1-2 years from now so all we all have time to save up for it.  then we go fill up the place with Bulleteers for a week, how cool would that be, except we would all have to take turns riding LJ's bullet around. (Ha! Ha! Just kidding)...

or we could save even more money and buy a used one or two and have em shipped there for us all to use. This is alot of teamwork but imagine a vacation in Tonga with a chance to ride an enfeld around for a couple hours... and then LJ could use em or rent em to visitors... ( I am a crazy dreamer I know)

Heck I might just move there myself, LJ do you need any help? (half joking)

I just saw the website and man does it look NICE down there!

Peace to all of ya down ther and prayers to all those who lost loved ones.

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geoffbaker

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Re: Princess Ashika goes down in Tonga
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2009, 05:24:48 PM »
sounds like a plan, Frank!